I thought I'd mention this on my blog, even though I've had it on my etsy site for a few days.
As I said before, I've really been struggling with what has/is happening in Haiti, having been there before and meeting the beautiful people of that country. I've been listening to and reading so many new stories about individuals over there and what they have seen happening in their country that its almost unreal. It's hard to listen all the way through without shedding tears. I just don't get it. As one man mentioned at the end of his skype interview with NPR, "Please continue to pray for this country that has had so much happen to it already." I want to be there so bad to help the people and take care of them... My husband said yesterday. "Let's just go, we'll figure it out, take off work, find some supporters?"And I really thought about it seriously for a moment. But then we both came to the realization that now is not the right time. We would just be taking up valuable resources that could be used for those who really need it. We have no medical experience or fluidity in the Creole language. But we do know people who can help.
So that's why I have decided that 90% of the profits from my current inventory in my etsy shop will be donated to some friends of ours who will be heading to Haiti to aid in the relief efforts. Our friends Heather Nozea and her Hatian husband Gerson, started Growing Hope for Haiti, a non-for-profit, about a year ago and will be heading there with funds donated to them. Below is a recent letter she has sent to their supporters to let you all know their plan and a photo of her visiting a Haitian family that she has grown to love over the years.
It has been quite an eventful night/morning. Gerson was able to get through to his sister's cell phone for the first time a few hours ago! He talked to his sister, his brother, and his mom, and they confirmed that everyone in his immediate family is accounted for!! Some minor injuries...a lot of fear and shock...but they are all ok! I can't tell you how happy we were to hear their voices.
The situation they described there is overwhelming and heart-breaking. They said that their yard has become like a refugee camp, with many people who have lost their homes and some who are injured, sleeping there because they are the only house in the neighborhood that has a yard. They said that food and water are becoming an increasing concern, as everything is running low. They said there is a dire need for medicine and medical care. They have seen people die there with them because there was no access to a clinic or hospital. They said Gerson's 5-year-old niece, who they think has a broken arm, stays within the yard because she is afraid of the dead bodies in the street. None of them have slept since the earthquake.
We have been up all night, talking to people and making plans. We have decided to get to Haiti as soon as possible, to do what we can to help. Gerson is going to take the semester off school, and I am going to take a . Gerson will be flying into the Dominican Republic on Monday (there are no flights into Haiti right now), where he is going to meet up with a group of Haitian and Dominican doctors andmedical students. They are going to buy medical supplies in the DR and take them into Port-au-Prince to set up mobile medical clinics. This group has already had thousands of dollars worth of supplies donated by the med school and a local hospital in the DR, and we hope to raise thousands more. There are many injured and hurting people in Port-au-Prince, and not nearly enough resources to treat them all. This is one of the most immediate and desperate needs, so this is what we're going to focus on for now.
My plan is to go in shortly after Gerson-- probably next weekend-- with a small group of doctors and nurses from the U.S. We have talked to several medical professionals here who are looking for a way to get in and a place to serve. They have the medical skills, and we have the knowledge to coordinate the efforts, get them set up in Haiti, and translate for them while they're there....so we feel like it is a good match. Gerson and I are not able to meet the medical needs of the people ourselves, but we are in a position to enable those who can.
We will be raising money for this trip and for medical supplies. Many of you have been asking how to help-- here is a huge opportunity! We personally will be using this money to meet the needs of people in Haiti, and we can assure you that every dollar will be well spent. We are working on getting online donation capabilities set up, but for now, you can send donations to:
Growing Hope for Haiti
927 Wooden Drive
Florissant, MO 63033
Growing Hope for Haiti is a 501c3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. We are pleading with all of you to join with us in these efforts by praying and giving. Thank you for the compassion and love you have already shown in this crisis. We are grateful to be surrounded by so many people who genuinely care.
I am going to try to get some rest now, after being up all night. We are physically and emotionally exhausted, and I know we need to take care of ourselves so that we can be of use to the people in Haiti. Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to go.
Thanks again and I hope that whether or not you would like to help them or any other organization you will realize the dire need for your continued support and prayer. We are all God's children.